Iluka Mineral Sands Output Down On-Quarter, Sales Sharply Lower

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By Rhiannon Hoyle

Australian miner Iluka Resources said it produced less of its core mineral sands products in the third quarter of 2023 versus the three months prior and that sales fell sharply amid challenging conditions, largely related to weakness in China’s property market.

The company on Thursday reported production of zircon, rutile and synthetic rutile totaling 167,100 metric tons for the three months through September, down from 216,700 tons the quarter immediately prior. Iluka produced 143,900 tons in the same period a year ago.

Sales of those products totaled 81,500 tons for the quarter, compared to 176,400 tons the quarter immediately prior and 130,800 tons in the same period a year ago. Zircon is used to make ceramics such as tiles and wash basins, while rutile products are used for paints, plastics and paper.

“Ongoing global uncertainty, subdued economic activity and weakness in the China property market continue to provide headwinds to the zircon market,” said Iluka.

“Recent monetary policy changes in China have, to date, provided limited stimulus to the real estate sector impacting the domestic ceramic market” while “Chinese industrial activity has also remained subdued, contributing to low buying activity in other zircon segments,” the company added.

Iluka said prices were in line with the quarter prior and that it will continue to prioritize price stability despite challenging market conditions.

Two synthetic rutile kilns were taken offline this month due to planned maintenance and an uncertain economic outlook. They will be restarted in late January.

Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at [email protected]

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